NZCTU Slams Contractor Reform as Assault on Workers' Rights

NZCTU Te Kauae Kaimahi President Richard Wagstaff is condemning a proposed change to employment law as a deplorable attack on workers' rights.

Minister for Workplace Relations, Brooke van Velden, has instructed her officials to begin work on preventing workers misclassified as contractors from challenging their employment status in the courts.

"The Minister is consulting on removing fundamental employee rights, such as a minimum wage, annual leave, rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. That she even considers these changes worthy of consultation is deplorable," said Wagstaff.

"If implemented, these changes represent the biggest attack on workers' rights since the early 1990s and would open the floodgates to worker exploitation across Aotearoa New Zealand.

"Blocking workers from challenging their employment status in court will allow unscrupulous employers to circumvent employment law by hiring people as contractors, without fear of challenge.

"This could completely change the nature of employment. Workers in industries that currently seem safe from being engaged as contractors, would be at risk if these changes go through.

"The Minister wants to block vulnerable workers from even being able to have their case heard. This is not only unethical, but also legally unworkable.

"The NZCTU totally oppose any attempt by government to undermine access to justice for working people. Everyone, regardless of employment status, deserves good work - work that is well-paid, safe and secure and contributes to a meaningful and fulfilling life," said Wagstaff.

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